Discover Your Calling Trips: Q & A

I (Micah Metz, social media and events coordinator) recently sat down with Jared Gleason (director of Mobilization) to ask him some questions about the upcoming Discover Your Calling trips to Mexico and Uganda in July. I tried to ask questions that I thought would give you added confidence as you consider your part on these teams and calm any hidden fears you may have about being stranded on safari surrounded by lions (FYI: these are not hunting trips, so you really don’t need to worry about this).

Photo credit: Bill and Lydia Allshouse

How does funding work for these trips? Do I need to raise money?
Each team member will be given a budget amount that will include all costs for your trip. Usually, team members send letters to family, friends, coworkers, and acquaintances, inviting them to participate in cross-cultural missions with them. You can also speak to groups (church, small group, etc.) or do fundraisers with local companies and restaurants.

Who are the missionaries I’ll be working with and what are their ministries?

The Mexico team will work alongside Bill and Lydia Allshouse. Bill and Lydia have served in Mexico for many years and are excited to host teams, especially groups looking to explore how God can use them in missions. The Allshouses are involved in biblical education, pastoral and leadership development, and community transformation ministries.

John and Beth Muehlheisen will host the Uganda team. John and Beth are involved in many ministries, including leadership development, Community Health Empowerment, and business management.

Both the Mexico and Uganda teams will be exposed to several different types of ministries. The goal is to have you experience many ways you can serve in missions.

How big are the teams?
We are looking to have 10 people on each team.

Are the areas I’m going to be in safe?
Safety is a priority for the missionaries who will be hosting these teams. They know their specific areas very well and are in communication with local authorities and the U.S. consulates in their region. Although we do not anticipate any problems, our missionaries will do all that they can to keep team members safe.

What kind of projects will I get to be involved in? What does a normal day look like?
For these teams, our desire is to have you experience several different types of ministries—children/youth, community transformation, education, etc.—to give you an idea of the diversity of missions. The teams will visit these ministries during the day and then spend time in the evenings talking about the different ministries and exploring how team members can use their gifts and skills in missions. Team members will also have a cultural experience.

What other things should I know before I go?
Our team at WGM headquarters is excellent at taking care of teams and working out all of the logistics. We do our best to make your experience as smooth as possible, allowing God to work in and through you in ways you may not expect. Be prepared to be challenged to expand your worldview and to see how you can be a part of what God is doing around the world!

Who is leading the teams?
Both team leaders are members of our Mobilization Team at WGM. Victoria Herring, our executive assistant, is leading the team to Mexico. Kristina Gleason, our volunteer coordinator, will be leading the team to Uganda. They are excited to come alongside their team members to help them see their roles in missions.

The Seeds of UDM

By Jonathan Mayo, Uganda

img_0763Jonathan and Lisa Mayo are missionaries serving in university and education ministries in East, Africa and the ministry continues to expand throughout Africa. Jonathan recently wrote about how the seeds of the University Discipleship Movement have grown over the years and taken root across East Africa. Continue reading to learn how God is using UDM and its mentors and students to positively impact Africa for Christ.

“Shortly after Kennedy Kirui graduated from Kenya Highlands Bible College (now Kenya Highlands University), he arrived in Kampala, Uganda, in the fall of 2002 to continue his education at Kampala International University. Soon after arriving on campus, he realized that there were no Christian groups doing ministry on campus. Kennedy, along with two other students, met together for Bible study and fellowship and to encourage one another in their Christian walks. They met only once a week, attending their own churches on Sundays. As they continued to meet, Kennedy found out that Africa Gospel Church and World Gospel Mission were both in Uganda. Some WGM missionaries began to help lead Bible studies and other activities as called upon.

“As time went on, more students joined the fellowship and other groups began to form. Eventually, the students started United Faith Chapel, a thriving community of believers and a full-fledged, student-led church in Kampala.

“As early as 2005, Kennedy and I began to dream about seeing a university ministry like the one at KIU spread across Africa. This eventually led to the formation of University Discipleship Movement. God’s transforming work did not stop in Kampala; UDM has now grown from KIU to universities throughout East Africa as students at other universities have asked for help in creating their own student-led ministries.

img_1556“The movement’s vision is to see a generation of transformed university students who will take the whole gospel to the whole world. In addition to working with existing Christian groups on university and college campuses, UDM leaders help establish discipleship programs and campus churches at universities where Christian groups do not yet exist. Currently, discipleship ministries are being held on 22 campuses in East Africa with the potential of more universities being reached as financial and personnel needs are met.

“The discipleship movement reaches the less than 5 percent of East African people who are able to attend university. These students are growing closer to Jesus and are being challenged to be change agents for Him in their communities and countries. Many discipleship leaders shared that they see a huge difference in the students who have completed UDM’s programs. Students testify regularly about the transformation that has taken place in their lives.

“In the midst of this amazing work, the University Discipleship Movement is facing obstacles. Spiritual warfare challenges students and leaders in their faith, university administrators are not always open to the ministries’ active role in student life, and financial struggles make it difficult for the movement to expand and acquire necessary resources.

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“Despite these challenges, God is faithfully making a way for the movement to affect transformation among university students and leaders throughout Africa. Grounded in their faith in Jesus and their education, students are being equipped to spur long-lasting spiritual and economic development.”

WGM can help you get involved in the ministry of UDM as it continues to spread throughout Africa. Visit www.wgm.org/udm for more information about how you can help make a difference today!

The Trauma of Ministry

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God calls all of us to the mission field, whether it is in our hometown or across the ocean. For Nathan and Jade Metz, the call led them to Uganda, Africa, where they focus on pastoral training and compassionate ministries. In a post from their ministry blog, they speak about the difficulties of a life lived on the field. Read on to learn how God allows us to feel great sympathy and deep pain for those we build meaningful relationships with daily.

“I’m traumatized.  God directed me into the dark.  I trusted Him and I took His hand.  He led me to a place I didn’t know, to people with their problems and their pain.  His love stretches to the ends of the earth and in that end His servants toil, sharing the Gospel for His glory.  So I’m a soldier.  I’m a fighter.  I’m traumatized.

“There is a trauma in ministry that is rarely spoken of.  Perhaps it is an embarrassment to some.  Perhaps it is misunderstood.  For many, it marks failure and signifies the beginning of the end.  Ministry to the Lord has stripped me of comforts and turned my life upside down.  In the evening hours I reach for a pillow but I am hemmed in by sadness, sickness and loss.  Not mine.  Theirs.  The ones I came to love. Their pain hangs across my shoulders like dead weight, like a waterlogged carpet.  In our meal time I stretch my hand across our shiny table to a pan full of food but I find hunger and my hand is begging.  Not mine, though.  Theirs.  The ones I came to love.

“In this ministry of love I am caught up in the whirlwind of wanting but not having, hurting but not healing.  Their pain is my pain.  Their trouble is my trouble.  When I look at my ankle I see the foot of James.  His was crushed by a father with a hammer in a drunken rage.  When I look at my children I see them wandering the streets, sifting through piles of fly covered refuse in search of anything with value.  When I bathe in the comfort of my home I’m covered in street runoff that provides the only water source for whole communities in our city.  Their pain is my pain.  It’s the trauma of ministry.

“In the 3 years of Jesus’ ministry he saw and heard much.  In his humanity, surely he felt the trauma.  Countless numbers of sick and diseased people flocked to the face of Jesus for help.  Imagine what he thought as he laid down each night; their desperate faces flashing in his eyes.  He felt the pain of being hated.  He felt the deep distress of confrontation and public hostility.  He carried the enormous burden of love and compassion toward a people wallowing in a broken world that groans for deliverance.  Jesus endured the trauma of ministry.

“I saw a truck on the side of the road.  The cab was collapsed from a head on collision.  A short distance further was a second truck with a similar appearance.  These two giant forces hit each other so hard that they were both crushed.  Trauma goes both ways.  Yes, there is a trauma in ministry.  The weight of the broken world hits the minister so hard that pieces shift and change and break.  However, the trauma goes both ways.  The weight of the Gospel hits the broken world so hard that pieces shift and change and break.  This collision sparks with light and draws the eyes and turns the necks of everyone who is near.

“So, I’m traumatized.  This ministry has hit so hard that my pieces are broken.  My fabric is torn.  In my prayer I ask God to pick my head up out of the pain around me.  He says, ‘No.  Keep your head down.  Stay in it.  I’ll hold you up.  Let’s love them together.’  To God be the glory.  Great things He has done.”

Do you want God to do great things through you? WGM can help you on that journey. We can help you find God’s call at http://www.wgm.org/serve. Check out the site, look at the options, and pray hard about what God is calling you to. There is someone out there waiting to hear the gospel from you and to see Jesus in you.

Living in the “Dirt” of Missions

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Brady and Alicia Searl are missionaries serving in discipleship ministries in Uganda. They recently made the move to Uganda with their young son, Gabe. In this #GoGrowChange post focusing on the theme “dirt,” Alicia shares the challenges that come with such a move and how God’s provision was with them every step of the way. (All photos were taken by Brady and Alicia.)

“We have been living in Kampala, Uganda, for the past four months. We had been anticipating our move abroad over the past two-and-a-half years, and it sometimes feels surreal to look around and be in the place where God had been preparing us to serve for so long. Our journey has not been easy, but we serve a God whose plan is bigger than ours, and He has been img_5999faithful during our journey to the mission field. Being in a place of reliance on God for funding and provision did not come naturally to our family’s American mindset of planning, preparing, and reliance on our means of stability. One of those means of stability was our jobs. Brady was working for a company where he was offered over four promotions during our time of committing to the mission field. Each time we felt God was prompting us to continue to trust Him rather than seek earthly wealth and opportunities. It came to a point where we knew we had to move away from our jobs and home and move back to Kentucky, where we had family and roots, to finish up our support raising. It was very humbling to move back in with my parents and fully rely on God and the generosity of family and friends to survive.

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“Our time in Kentucky allowed us to fully focus on preparing for the mission field and was a rich time of connecting with our close friends and family. It’s funny how when we actually take steps that God has prompted us to take, He provides in even richer ways.

“One of the challenges of this season was preparing to pack and saying our goodbyes. Even though our time in Kentucky was less than a year, we made strong connections with old friends, created new friendships, and spent quality time with family. Preparing to pack a family of three for three years is not an easy task. We had sold many of our belongings and now had the task of deciding what to pack in eight 50-pound trunks. I wasn’t sure our marriage was going to last after many debates about what I found important and what Brady found important. I once again had to rely on God to provide for us and not lean on my own understanding of comforts and necessities.

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“Our first few months have brought about more changes, and we are learning to lean on God for comfort. We have been adjusting to living in a crowded city and learning to live without some comforts, like air conditioning and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. We have been adjusting to sitting through more than three-hour long church services and driving in standstill traffic. God has provided more important things for us, like a supportive team and friendships. We have been learning Luganda and making many mistakes, like img_6262putting emphasis on the wrong part of the word Amazi and turning ‘I would like some water’ into ‘I would like some poop.’ On days where we become frustrated in our learning, we will have an experience where someone comments on how well we are doing with learning the language and provides us with some encouragement needed to continue to practice and study.

“Through the challenges and ‘dirt’ of living abroad, we have great joy in knowing that we are now truly living in the space that God laid on our hearts for several years. He continues to mold and shape us into the vessels He created us to be. We are thankful that we serve a God who walks with us through the good and bad and calls us to get ‘dirty’ sometimes.”

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WGM can help you get involved in the Searls’ ministry in Uganda. Visit www.wgm.org/searl to give or stay connected, www.wgm.org/uganda for a list of service opportunities in Uganda, and BradyandAliciaSearl to follow them on Facebook.